The NFL’s Grant Park party to celebrate the start of the season will feature a hip-hop star — but it won’t be Chance the Rapper.
Meek Mill will perform, as will pop star Meghan Trainor and Rapsody, the NFL said Friday. Meek Mill, the headliner, will play at 6:30 p.m. Fans are encouraged to watch the game on giant screens afterward. Portions of Meek Mill’s performance, as well as Trainor’s, will be simulcast on the NBC and NFL Network pregame shows.
Bears chairman George McCaskey said almost six weeks ago that the headliner for the event would be Chicago-based Chance the Rapper. Neither the league nor the rapper’s representatives confirmed the booking, though, and it seemed less likely with each passing week.
Meek Mill became a face for prison reform after he was sentenced to state prison in November 2017 for probation violations that included an airport scuffle and riding a dirt bike. After five months — and with support from countless celebrities — he was granted bail. His conviction was later thrown out by an appeals court.
Trainor is known for the hits “All About That Bass” and “Lips Are Movin’.”
Both artists are advocates for Inspire Change, the NFL’s social-justice platform that supports education and economic-advancement programs, police and community relations and criminal-justice reform.
The party runs from noon to 10:30 p.m. Thursday. Former Bears Matt Forte, Jim McMahon and Charles Tillman will sign autographs. The event is free.
Roster cuts start early
With the regular-season roster deadline coming Saturday at 3 p.m., the Bears cut 12 players Friday, sources said. They still have a long way to go to get from 90 to 53.
Their most anticipated decision is whether to keep kicker Eddy Pineiro, and his status had not been determined as of Friday night. Coach Matt Nagy hinted that the Bears are inclined to keep him but was open about exploring alternatives over the weekend.
Wide receiver Marvin Hall and cornerback Clifton Duck were the most notable players the team let go. The cuts were not on the NFL transaction wire for Friday but must be finalized by the Saturday deadline.
The team also informed wide receiver Tanner Gentry and tight end Ian Bunting that they are being waived. The Bears intend to keep four tight ends, a source said: Trey Burton, Adam Shaheen, Ben Braunecker and Bradley Sowell.
The Bears cut offensive linemen Marquez Tucker and Joe Lowery, nose tackle Daryle Banfield, defensive end Jalen Dalton, cornerback Doyin Jibowu and linebackers Jameer Thurman, Mathieu Betts and Chuck Harris.